This is the second part of a series about a paperback book published in 1845 by William Munger. Pages 18-37 are in the slideshow if you would like to read a copy of the original book.
Here are some more of the dental related recipes for cures in this book:
- “TO CURE CANKER IN THE MOUTH – Take Spikenard root and grate it, mix it with honey or molasses (honey is best:) or, pound the root, steep it in water, sweeten it with honey and take it.” p. 19
Spikenard root is is also called Nard, Nardin or Muskroot. The plant grows in the Himalayas, Nepal, China and India. It grows to about one meter in height and has pink bell shaped flowers. It was also used to season foods in Medieval Europe.
2. “FOR THE CANKER OR CANKER RASH – Take fever brush, saffron and snake root and make good tea of it. Take a gill an hour until the disorder is sent out, make a tea of everlasting and gold thread. Put half a tea spoonful of fine alum to a gill of this tea. Use a tea spoonful of it once an hour at the same time of taking the above. Sweeten both of the teas with honey.
Make a tea of elder flowers. sweeten it with molasses; take a teacup full night and morning; – Continue these teas till well. When a person has cankers inwardly their breath smells bad.” Page 29
Snake root was a folk remedy which was used to treat snake bites. It is a poison to animals. When humans drink the milk of cows or goats that ate snake root they can get milk sickness. Thousands of people died by drinking the milk of animals who ate snakeroot in the early 1800’s. Settlers in North American were unaware of the toxicity of White Snake Root in animals. Early Americans did not know that by drinking their milk they would get sick at minimum and die in the worst cases.
Nancy Hanks Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s mother, died of Milk Sickness in 1818. Milk Sickness is the name of the illness resulting from drinking the milk of an animal that has eaten snake root. It is poisonous to horses, goats and sheep but only to humans if they drink the milk of the animals after the animal has eaten snakeroot.
The tea recipe above calls for a gill of tea to be added to fine alum. A gill equals half a cup or four fluid ounces.
3. “TO CURE THE QUINZY – Take the stump of cabbage, cut out the pith and some of the stump with it; lay it on a stone and pound it fine; put it into a kettle of water, boil it until soft, put it in new milk, and thicken it with Indian meal. Make a poultice and kind it on the neck.” p. 34
Since the author, William Munger, suggests placing the cabbage poultice on the neck it is likely he meant quinsy instead of quinzy and it was a spelling error. Quinsy, also known as a peritonsillar abscess, is a rare and potentially serious complication of tonsillitis. Indian meal is actually now called cornmeal. Medical practitioners do surgery now to remove the abscess on the tonsil instead of placing a poultice on the outside of the neck.
Many of the health problems in this book are called by other names now.
Part 3 of 6 will be published by next month.